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From: The Socialist issue 958, 9 August 2017: Striking back against poverty pay

Search site for keywords: Pay - Poverty - Workers - Strike - Barts - Austerity - TUC - National Shop Stewards Network

Striking back against poverty pay

Barts NHS ancillary workers joined BA cabin crew and Bank of England workers in joint demonstrations, 3.8.17, photo by Sarah Wrack

Barts NHS ancillary workers joined BA cabin crew and Bank of England workers in joint demonstrations, 3.8.17, photo by Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Bob Severn, South East Birmingham Socialist Party

What's summer about? Sun, sea and... strike action! Fat cats and their Tory MP mates might be lounging on private beaches on private islands, but a big wave is going to hit them - a strike wave!

Strikers include Birmingham bin workers, Barts NHS trust hospital ancillary workers, Mears housing maintenance workers, housing association support workers in south Wales, BA cabin crew, Sheffield steel workers and Bank of England staff (no, not the actual bankers - but low paid maintenance and security workers).

Poverty pay is an issue that unites all the disputes, from the Rom Ltd steel workers fighting for their first pay rise in a decade, to Bron Afon support workers in south Wales facing a 3,000 pay cut.

Birmingham bin workers could lose 4,000 a year - or their jobs. Workloads, bullying management and protecting terms and conditions are also threads that tie together the summer strikes.


None of these workers want to strike - but they have been left with no choice but to take action so they aren't left on the austerity scrapheap. But many others might wonder - why aren't we taking action too?

The Tories are weak and divided, and united strike action by public and private sector workers could push them and their austerity agenda over the edge.

Unite union members in London from Barts Trust, British Airways, and the Bank of England showed the way on 3 August, when the strikers coordinated their marches and rallied alongside each other, supporting their fellow workers, increasing their strength and confidence.

So the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) is calling on the TUC - the organisation that is supposed to bring together and lead the trade union movement - to lead a joint fight to smash the Tory pay cap and win decent pay for all workers, public and private.

As summer goes into autumn, the strike wave could turn into a tsunami that wrecks austerity - and stops it from wrecking our lives!

You can help make that happen by joining the lobby of the TUC in seaside Brighton on 10 September.

Fight together to scrap the Tory pay cap!

  • National Shop Stewards Network rally at TUC congress
  • Sunday 10 September at 1pm, Arundel Suite, Holiday Inn, 137 King's Road, Brighton BN1 2JP - all welcome
  • Confirmed speakers: Len Hockey, Unite Barts NHS Trust branch secretary; Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary; Steve Gillan, POA general secretary; Ronnie Draper, BFAWU general secretary; Sean Hoyle, RMT president and Amy Murphy, Usdaw southern division EC member. Chaired by Janice Godrich, PCS president

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